I learned I had cancer
10 December 2016
Return to sailing
23 October 2017

Fighting the cancer on Valentine’s Day, CHEMO

The surgical removal of a tumour is but the beginning of a long road for Hanna. Her physicians decided that the heaviest form of chemotherapy would be the next step. The reason? The patient is young. Nobody knows to what extent the treatment increases the likelihood of full recovery… See more – the next episode of the struggle for Hanna Leniec, second mate of the s/y Katharsis II


More than two months have passed since my last entry. Much has happened since. The most important thing is that tumour removal is over. Dr Krzysztof Katana of the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Cancer Therapy Centre got rid of the hideous creature from my breast, and he did it perfectly. Just under two weeks after surgery, my doctors even let me take a short trip to South Africa. I really wanted to feel the deck of Katharsis II under my feet, even if only for a little while.

Mariusz and I flew to Cape Town for a few days before Christmas. Katharsis II was waiting in the marina. The trip was hugely important to me. Firstly, I wanted to see the guys and show them that I am nowhere near giving up. Secondly, I wanted to visit Katharsis II before getting stuck for a few long months in Poland. Test results would determine further treatment. Scenarios vary: further surgery or straight on to chemotherapy. One thing is certain: no more long journeys for a while!

The few days aboard Katharsis II let me recharge my batteries and summon my strength. When I returned to Poland, my doctors gave me good news: there were no cancer cells around the removed tumour; and it had not metastasised to my lymph nodes. Hurray! 2017 kicked off on a good note.

Surgical removal of the tumour is but the beginning of a long road. My physicians decided that the heaviest form of chemotherapy would be the next step. As I was told, my young age is the reason. No one really knows to what extent full recovery is likely. Frankly – I’m scared, not of the treatment itself, but of its side effects. Yes, I get nauseous; there are moments when I feel really bad for long stretches of time, and my hair is falling out by the fistful. Such, regrettably, is the daily struggle with cancer. Yet what I am truly afraid of is invisible: permanent damage to my internal organs.

Until recently, I had been quietly hopeful that hormone therapy, much milder in terms of side effects, would suffice. Yet further consultations with my doctors convinced me that it would be much safer to use the entire array of treatment measures known to man. I intend to give the hideous creature no chance, which is why I consented to chemotherapy.

While I am trying to pretend – even to myself – that nothing has changed, somewhere deep inside I have moments of horrible fear. In these moments, it is of paramount importance to meet a doctor who will listen, understand, explain, and – just take care of their patient. I was lucky to have met such a person before surgery. And fate smiled on me yet again afterwards. Dr Katarzyna Pogoda explained what the whole chemotherapy process would be all about. She told me why chemo was such a wise choice in my case, and what could be done to protect my body to the greatest extent possible.

Despite my fears and concerns – they were there yesterday and are there today – I am still capable of finding new optimism within myself, and my outlook on LIFE is positive, just as it had been before disease struck. This is what the doctor noticed immediately, and she was quick to tell me that there is no better support for therapy than a large dose of vitamin L, that vitamin L is the best dietary supplement out there. Positive energy and cheerfulness are my two weapons in fighting cancer, chemotherapy notwithstanding.

The support of my nearest and dearest is obviously enormously important as well. They are there for me. It is value added; and it is priceless.

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